THE CONFLICT How Modem Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women ELIZABETH BAD INTER HarperCollins Canada
My son spied the cover of this book and asked, "Why is the baby a giant?" The illustration shows a pint-sized woman overshadowed by an enormous infant in a stroller. The book, I answered, is about how women sometimes make their kids too important and forget to pay attention to themselves or their work. He paused for a split second and said, "Oh you mean like so-and-so's mom."
I laughed, but my own parenting is hardly immune. The point here is that society's intense-parenting trend is so clear, even an eight-year-old can see it.
Elizabeth Badinter's analysis is razor-sharp. She tracks the rise of "naturalism" and the pressure mothers face around practices like natural childbirth, co-sleeping, "on-demand breast-feeding for as long as the child wants" and staying "by his side until the age of three to optimize his development."
Even if families can afford this, Badinter says, women's relationships, earnings and fulfillment take a hit. And with each responsibility that is piled …